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Sam's Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Laura Lemay

Newly revised for some of the latest Sun JDK 1.3 standards, the second edition ofSams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Daysprovides a refreshingly compact and useful tour of Java suitable for anyone who wants to master this powerful programming language quickly. … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Laura Lemay
Publisher: Pearson Education
1 review about Sam's Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days

Much closer to perfect than it is to adequate

  • Jul 3, 2003
Rating:
+5
One would get very tired lifting all of the beginning Java books currently on the market. The combination of weight and numbers can be overwhelming to someone looking for a book to use in their initial study of the language. As more features are added and considered fundamental, it becomes harder for the author of any book based on a time frame to pick the "essential" topics and cover them in sufficient detail. Therefore, the end result is that all books based on an elapsed time should have the time considered as a guideline rather than as an absolute and that type of book should not be judged too harshly in this area.
With that as a precept, the questions to resolve are threefold.

Did the authors choose the appropriate topics?
Are the starting points in a location appropriate for beginners?
Is the coverage sufficient so that the student will have some significant grasp of Java after they complete the book?

In this case, all the answers are most definitely affirmative. Cadenhead and Lemay begin with the basics of the fundamental data types, expressions and operators. These concepts are then used to construct simple classes, which are then put together to make other classes via inheritance and interface implementation. Classes are then grouped together to make packages, and the implementation details of import and setting the CLASSPATH environment variable are examined. The first week ends with a lesson covering how to work with threads and exceptions.
Week two is devoted to creating GUI interfaces, handling events and drawing objects, with the topic of the final day being the construction and use of applets. Week three is devoted to some additional basic and advanced topics. Day 15 covers input/output, day 16 describes the serialization and inspection of objects, day 17 shows you how to communicate across a network, on day 18 you work with sound, day 19 is an explanation of how to create and use JavaBeans, the coverage of day 20 is how to move data using JDBC and XML and day 21 covers how to write Java servlets and Java Server Pages (JSPs). The coverage of each of these topics is necessarily brief, and the authors do leave a lot of things out. Nevertheless, I am convinced that enough is covered so that the students leave with a basic grasp of how each concept is used to construct programs.
Are there things that I would have done differently? Absolutely! I would have moved the coverage of input/output so that it was embedded inside the other lessons. Once classes and exceptions are covered, then sending data in and out of files can be done by adding only a few lines to programs whose primary purpose is to demonstrate other things. I would have made more effort to explain how threads can be used and abused in Java programs, covering them in a separate chapter.
In conclusion, this is one of the best beginning Java books on the market. No such book is ever perfect, but this one is much closer to perfect than it is to merely adequate.

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